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Archive for Friday, March 11, 2011

Statehouse Live: Brownback cuts $50 million from public schools

Senator questions governor’s authority

March 11, 2011, 11:28 a.m. Updated March 11, 2011, 9:27 p.m.

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday slashed $56.5 million in state spending, including $50.2 million from public schools after fellow Republicans who control the House and Senate failed to come up with a budget-balancing plan.

The move produced finger-pointing between House and Senate GOP leaders, and Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka questioned whether Brownback even had the authority to take the unilateral action on the budget.

The move means that base state aid to schools will fall from $4,012 per pupil to $3,990 — a $22 per student decrease, according to the governor's office. The base state aid per pupil cut would have been deeper, but the state will move some federal funds around to keep it at $22 per student, the office said.

Brownback said the cuts will satisfy a state requirement to balance the budget by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

He said he would like legislators now to focus on the budget for the fiscal year, that starts July 1 and which faces a nearly $500 million deficit.

Noting the state’s 110,000 unemployed, Brownback said, “Our focus must be to grow the state’s economy and get those folks back to work. We do that and we’ll have additional funding for everyone’s budget priorities.”

Brownback said he picked up the budget knife after House and Senate negotiations fell apart.

Brownback had asked the Legislature on Jan. 12 to send him a bill that would cut spending and provide a $35 million ending balance.

The House and Senate passed different versions. But negotiators couldn’t hammer out the differences. The House wanted deeper cuts to education than the Senate was willing to make.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said public schools have been cut sharply over the past three years.

Hensley said the House-Senate budget conference committee should continue working.

Of Brownback, he said, “He can’t even bring members of his own party together.”

House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, also said the budget conference committee could continue meeting, but Senate members indicated that Brownback’s budget cuts would suffice for the current fiscal year, and the Legislature should focus during the rest of the legislative session on writing a budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget cuts include $2.3 million from the Kansas Board of Regents. But Kip Peterson, a spokesman for the regents, said that money is coming from an overfunded infrastructure loan program and shouldn’t affect higher education operations.

Comments

pace 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas financial support and loop hole tax cuts to corporations and industry is 8 times the cost of education and state employees pensions.

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usnsnp 3 years, 1 month ago

May be able to handle the cuts this year, but what about next year, and the year after that. All the state government is going to do is keep trying to balance the budget on education, good luck. And for all you people that say why should I help pay for schools because I either have no children or my children are gone, who payed for your education. I am sure most of you went to public school and the tax payer of that time helped pay for your schooling.

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Keith Richards 3 years, 1 month ago

At 11,053 students and $22 per student cut, this equates to $243,166. I find this cut to be very manageable at the district level. I highly doubt this will have any negative consequences on the kids.

That being said, this only closed the budget deficit for this year. Maybe this was a good move because the legislature should now first look elsewhere to find the $500 million for next year.

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ibroke 3 years, 1 month ago

Great job Sam Brownback keep up the good work!

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ophiuchus 3 years, 1 month ago

On George's suggestion, I'm trading in my Pink Floyd for KoRn...

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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

hey ! who voted for this guy ?

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SynjynSmythe 3 years, 1 month ago

The Governor's cuts are actually good news for the school district. They now need only to find about $300K in the current year. They planned on, and implemented, anticipatory cuts of $1M at the January 2011 board meeting. This $700K difference can used to help offset cuts next year! Further, the cuts necessary for next year also went down with Brownback's decree. Before any school closes, the schoolboard MUST BE held accountable & forced to disclose the finances. It should be easy for the public to see that a school does not need to be closed. The $700K banked this year more than pays for the alleged savings from closing any schools next year!!!

Hope Mr. Fagan reports this!!! Better yet, how about if Mr. Fagan does some investigative reporting and confronts Doll, Minder, Morgan and the rest of the school board with this reality!!

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas and America will not be able to cut its way out of debt. Not going to happen.

The sooner politicians and people wake up to the fact that more revenues must be raised, the better.

We, those who have enjoyed the benefits of deficit spending, must take responsibilty and start paying our bills, in addition to cutting our spending.

Otherwise, it is like trying to pay off a $5000 credit card bill by simply no longer using the credit card. It doesn't work that way.

Simplify the tax code. Raise taxes on the wealthy. End corporate tax exemptions and deductions, AND trim spending.

This is the only way we will ever get out of debt.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 1 month ago

$7 and something per chlld, big deal. Thats a bit over 20cents a day. How many kids and parents are buying french fries, cell phones, cigaretttes, beer? It is about time the schools get a rude awakening. And on top of that 50 million spread across the entire state is a pittance.

Of course it would be Lawrence to Wine the most, as if most of the employed in town are not already sucking on the public teat.

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HollisBrown 3 years, 1 month ago

Is anyone really surprised? We have a feakish, puritan governor who's done nothing so far but impose is personal morals and values on the state. More to come......

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Kyle Chandler 3 years, 1 month ago

When you start messing with the future of children, ESPECIALLY MY CHILDREN!.......well, passive resistance quickly turns into aggressive conflict in my mind.

Anyone who agrees with this move and these 'cuts' should just form a human shield around the capitol building. Blame Obama , blame whomever you want, the fact is.....we, the NON 2% of this state (meaning those who aren't millionaires) ARE ALL GOING TO LOSE AND LOSE BIG BECAUSE OF THIS. It really is a shame.

Its time for Kansas to return to its Democratic Socialist roots, meaning the PRIMARY function of the government is to SERVE the people, from the lower classes up, not serve their fancy garages and give their buddies corp. tax breaks.....of course some dip-hole in this thread is going to see 'Democrat' and will try to run with it.

Until we start putting NORMAL people in positions of government, we will always fail. The rich will keep getting rich and the poor get poorer.

OH and now we can add....Our children get dumber. Good job everyone

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Sparko 3 years, 1 month ago

Who can be surprised when Brownback acts this way? He has shown every propensity to govern for unseen plutocrats. Wisconsin comes south. Who is getting the $50M+ in corporate give-aways that help him push Kansas towards a crazy voucher system?

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windex 3 years, 1 month ago

@wissmo: "we" aren't "broke". There's money. It's just (A) tucked away in a few fiercely-guarded corners and/or (B) being spent on a couple of hopeless wars.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

mr_right_wing (anonymous) replies… I along with a majority of Kansans (of course a minority in Lawrence) voted for this man because we were realistic...

This won't be the last lose-lose decision that the man the majority of Kansans elected for Governor will have to make...

Hey mr_right_wing -- did you know 530,000 Kansans voted for Sam Brownback?

And did you know 514,000 Kansans voted for Barack Obama?

A majority of voters in November, 2010 voted for Brownback, but don't delude yourself into thinking that represents a majority of Kansans. It barely represents more people then voted for Obama two years earlier, and Obama got 42% of the vote in this state.

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Jeanne Cunningham 3 years, 1 month ago

Have you ever noticed how many people who do NOT have any kids of their own in public school are always the ones making the decisions about pubic schools? I think we (the voters) need to do something about that... ya think?

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KUrolls 3 years, 1 month ago

This behavior reminds me of Barack's Obamacare behavior. Did anyone know what was in it before he signed it?

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Scott Morgan 3 years, 1 month ago

knock knock folks, we are broke, and we must fix it. Higher taxes means anti growth. Cutting spending then growing the economy is the way to go. Hurts for a while, if we haven't fallen too far.

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tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Wake up people. This is what was going to happen all along. Look at the people Brownback hired. They advocate dismantling public schools. They think education and health care should only be for people who can afford it. They want a high unemployment rate, so workers will be coming to them begging for a job that pays pennies. But you voted for them, so you get what you paid for. But, guess what, you'll be lucky if you are working at the big house; you sure won't be living in one.

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usnsnp 3 years, 1 month ago

All I see is that people have forgot who caused the nations downturn. All I see is that Government Workers, Unions, and Social Securtiy are blamed for the economic problems. Lets remember, 2 wars and a tax cut while we were trying to fight theis wars, first time in our history that taxes were not raised during war time. Wall street lying, gambling and fraud. How many people have gone to jail from Wall street for what they did to the economie yet a few years ago we could send a person to jail for $10000 crime on Wall street. The cause of the problems come from both political parties, but people have to start to look at who is really creating the problems.

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scary_manilow 3 years, 1 month ago

Which is the obvious end goal of these "reforms"-- to drag us all screaming back into serfdom.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

The funny thing is, is that many of the right-wing posters on this site are the products of public education. Without it, most of them would have been too poor or too academically deficient to even have a chance at going to a private school or university.

I guess that is the quandry of public education. In a system without public education, most of these right-wing posters would be too uneducated to underatand what a computer is, let alone literate enough to write even their current inane and ignorant posts.

Also, they would be too busy working the fields and digging holes and shoveling manure and dying in wars to have time to write these screeds, even if they were literate.

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bretherite 3 years, 1 month ago

good thing he can afford to send his kids to PRIVATE school.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Clearly the tax paying citizens of Kansas are venal and greedy selfish. If you want good education and services, you have to pay for them.

You all want something for nothing. Magically, state services just appear from thin air and no Kansas citizen is required to pay for them.

Makes one wonder who are the adults and who are the schoolchildren in this state,.

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scary_manilow 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh, STFU. That money could be saved by cutting tax breaks for corporations and we wouldn't have to lose a dime from education OR social programs. Koch, Brownhole, et al are more interested in covering their bankbooks and keeping their base uneducated than they are about moving this state forward.

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 1 month ago

As I predicted in a past post.

While all of you were celebrating that KAC was spared, I suggested that money had to be cut somewhere, and education could be a target.

I said it then, and I'll say it again....Our kids won't be able to read, spell or do math; but they'll be able to act, paint and sing!

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Shameful and shameless at the same time.

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

Let's be clear, here. We are cutting our children's future to pay for things that we adults are too selfish to pay for ourselves through increased taxes.

Balancing a budget does indeed involve living within our means. It also means paying for services that we have already enjoyed.

A person doesn't get out of debt by only stopping new spending. It also involves paying off debt for things that we have already purchased, such as credit card bills.

This is a shameful and selfish transfer of our debt to our children.

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pace 3 years, 1 month ago

We are getting a good education , we are getting it from Brownback and Koch, Kansas proud possessors of Brownback, Phelps and Koch. we should ask to be annexed to Colorado as Kansas has lost all pride and honor.. No one in their right mind, unless they are stealing money from schools to give to the oil industry, robs the kids of an education. I don't pay taxes for Koch to run ads in Wi. I want my taxes to go to schools and services. the republicans have demonized state workers, teachers, disabled, non "traditional" families, I have always supported business, I don't mean with my taxes. Simplify the tax code, lets get Kansas out of the crooked politician business.

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pizzapete 3 years, 1 month ago

This is as big as it gets Sam was heard saying as he held his hand up to show us what he meant.

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equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 1 month ago

Dang! Brownback's photo on the front of the paper is not a happy way to start the day--not charming and not bright. It's not April Fools Day yet. Everyday feels kind of like that in KS though.

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true_patriot 3 years, 1 month ago

That ought to just about pay for the next round of corporate welfare in Kansas, while simultaneously making children in Kansas and therefore the next generation of adults in Kansas dimmer and less able to think for themselves.

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Melinda Black 3 years, 1 month ago

I wonder how many people that voted for Brownback are shocked and upset by this. If so, they are getting exactly what they deserve.

I didn't vote for Brownback nor am I shocked that he would do this. He's a Republican... duh.

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

Because dumb people are easier to control and manipulate. Up yours, Brownback!

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rgh 3 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like the governor of Kansas and Wisconsin are moving our states toward dictatorships. O'Neal isn't any better than him either wanting to abolish the State Board of Education. These guys are gems and thanks to those of you who voted for them, because I sure didn't!

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nugget 3 years, 1 month ago

$50 million. Chump change, not even petty cash for Koch Industries who have Gov. Brokeback squarely in their back pocket. He's nothing more than a wooden puppet for them--their wish is his command. Another stunt--diversionary tactic that goes over well with conservative Christian Republicans with money and no children, just a bigger version of attempting to take away $600K from Kansas Arts Commission. Follow the bigger dollars. You won't see Brownie touching the real sewage hole where corporate subsidies are draining this pathetic state. We elected him, and this is what we're going to get, so that he can stand up in front of the world when he attempts to run for president to brag how he balanced the budget--on the backs of 5 to 16 year old children.

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scary_manilow 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Kookamooka 3 years, 1 month ago

I have got to move my family out of this backward, ridiculous state. My kids won't stand a chance making their way in the world, competing, if they aren't well educated. We can't afford private schools. (and here's a big secret....they aren't always the best at educating children either-SHOCKER! You can't even find accountability data on most of them!) Kansas was doing well. Teachers were working hard with what they had and test scores were improving. Then came the budget cuts. And more budget cuts. And by golly-yesterday even more budget cuts. If schools weren't failing before, they certainly will be in the next few years until we can get a governor with the sense to restore equity and money to education.

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edjayhawk 3 years, 1 month ago

Noting the state’s 110,000 unemployed, Brownback said, “Our focus must be to grow the state’s economy and get those folks back to work. We do that and we’ll have additional funding for everyone’s budget priorities.”

He keeps saying that but doesn't say how he is going to put that many back to work.

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Dan Eyler 3 years, 1 month ago

I encourage the governor and the house and senate to cut spending and cut deep. School spending is a joke. Lets see, we built two new football stadiums for the high schools, new baseball fields, soccer fields at about 10 million dollars during the worst economic times in modern history, but we discover we have grade schools still using portable class rooms. The school closing committee said we will need another bond issue for 1.3 million dollars from the taxpayer to fix that problem. The budget for stadiums and construction of classrooms comes from the same budget. Lawrence picked stadiums over classrooms and children. This has always been the case for the public schools across this country. They are failing at every level in every state and it has to change. Lawrence can clearly adsorb more cuts, at least another 10 million or so. The failure isn't the teacher. But teachers better figure out that their success come from their willingness to change the educational process. Parent choice of schools, private schools, home schools, online classrooms, all will promote a better learning process and more choices for teachers to work. Follow the money because one way or another slowly but surely the public school model is shrinking as it has to compete with other models that are going to educate our children in the future. From sea to shining sea, from California, to New York, the public schools are failing, the unions are crumbling. This isn't something we should be proud of but those who claim to care about our children are absent. They are standing in front of the Wisconsin capital building, instead of the classroom blackboard. The teachers union is a fraud. They could care less about the children, They're only goal is to protect the state funding and prevent others from creating a better system.

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newmath 3 years, 1 month ago

do we really want to spend money educating people who can't afford to go to a private school? What brownback is doing should not be a shocker to anyone. only rich republicans should be able to go to college.

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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month ago

$300 million in capital renovations.........if you notice how they're doing the construction, they are doing it in intervals at different sections so the whole place has something going on somewhere. Much more expensive to do that way, but it also makes everything disorganized so if the funds were stopped the place would be in a shambles. Pretty smart whomever dictated that process. Also shows how inept elected officials are - just another government boondoggle.

A democrat says Brownback can't get people in his own party to agree - that's because there are so many RINO's (Republicans in name only) in the party, but it makes good press.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 1 month ago

This is going to be the worst administration in Kansas History.

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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

I lay this completely at the feet of O'Neal. Mike O'Neal is a no-good, aimless, shiftless bum. Put him at the controls of a monorail, and he'd run it off the tracks in five minutes.

Way to go, Hutch. You retards really know how to vote for a winner.

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Brock Masters 3 years, 1 month ago

Two Democrats are responsible for this mess. One is Obama - his arrogance and Obamacare so infuriated people that they came out and voted for any Republican. The other is Parkinson - he could have beat Brownback, but decided not to run and instead we had Holland. Holland had no chance even without the anti-Obama factor.

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question4u 3 years, 1 month ago

So, Brownback wanted a $35 million surplus. The House insisted on even more, turning down a compromise from the Senate of a $20 surplus. Brownback is forced to make the cuts himself and by law cannot create a surplus.

The House is the obvious loser here. Instead of $35 million or even $20 million, the surplus will be 0. Does anyone need more evidence that O'Neal is a boob?

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wearefree 3 years, 1 month ago

Politicians in Kansas=Dictators

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wearefree 3 years, 1 month ago

500 people saw Mike O'neil shoot a man, but they all wished for their names to be kept confidential! Bull!

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BigDog 3 years, 1 month ago

Bob .... they seem to have plenty of money for lawsuits, ad campaigns and lobbyists.

I know that isn't $50 million but it seems like good areas to start.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

And here's the bigger question -- where will schools find $50 million in spending over the course of 4 months?

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 1 month ago

So, 75 bucks for a school year. That's nothing when one sees the kids and parens chowing down at Long Johns, McDs and cell phones , cigarettes. Good hope the cuts continue so the schools and teachers will learn to live below their means instead of beggng for more with no better results in the end.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

So this will create jobs? How many? Sounds like the state needs 10,000 more jobs than it needed two months ago.

How many jobs will slashing public education create? And how much will all these new jobs pay?

I know I am super-excited to bring a bunch of new jobs to a state that doesn't value education.

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toe 3 years, 1 month ago

Higher ed will take a hit.

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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

I'm a corporation. I've had a bad year... and now, my financial foundation is a bit shaky.

[shay-kee shay-keeeee...]

I'm emotionally compromised--I could wreck the economy.

I need a government bailout. If I don't get one, YOU will have to foot the bill.

Recalculating!

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yourworstnightmare 3 years, 1 month ago

I putting my money on cuts to education.

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overthemoon 3 years, 1 month ago

If those corporations are people, too, how come they can't chip in and pay years of back taxes, take a moratorium on subsidies, and shoulder some of the 'sacrifice', too. Not to mention bad schools will effect their business now and for years into the future.

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Floyd Craig 3 years, 1 month ago

well maybe he needs to cut his pay and every other republican in office as well but they wont do it

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truman1902 3 years, 1 month ago

Unwilling to bear responsibility for real budgetary solutions, Gov. Brownback (still fresh from swearing in with his next campaign waaaaayyyy down the road) has been given the ball with not much shot clock left. One swish, and the $$$$$$$$$$$ are being yanked from anywhere & everywhere (one exception--Office of Repealer). NO specifics articulated?? Is this such a mystery, or will we receive details over the weekend when the news cycle nets less attention? The legislature (with few exceptions) remains a band of spineless morals vigilantes sucking the state treasury dry for one more session!

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question4u 3 years, 1 month ago

"We must return fiscal sanity to government."

Right. It is not fiscally sane to just slash away without regard for the consequences. Short term cuts that lead to long term liabilities are stupid. A number of Senate Republicans clearly recognize this, but House Republicans don't seem capable of distinguishing between logic and nonsense. Brownback now must choose his fork of the Republican path: follow the brain dead O'Neal and company or act in a responsible manner.

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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

What we need is a constitutional amendment that sets, in stone, the first two or three items of every regularly-scheduled legislative session:

1) State budget 2) School finance

No other legislation is even introduced before those two things are finished.

Put it in the Kansas Constitution. Exceptions, of course, in times of state emergency or crisis.

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Agnostick 3 years, 1 month ago

While the disdain for our governor is well-placed, what of our legislators? They are the ones who have been piddle-farting around with strip clubs, imaginary abortion clinics, "defending marriage" and so forth. If I understand this correctly, they knew the deadline, just as Brownback did.

O'Neal is the same shiftless punch bowl turd that Doug Mays was... cut from the same wormy apple. Neither one has any concept of time management, perspective, or priority. O'Neal is waiting until the final hours to crack the whip and get the budget and the school finance in order, just like Mays.

Say what you will about Brownback (and granted, I loathe the fact that I'm defending him as I write this), but at least he's putting first things, first.

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cowboy 3 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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prospector 3 years, 1 month ago

And for your entertainment pleasure, enjoy "Brownback Girls"

Gotta love Bucky!

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Jan Rolls 3 years, 1 month ago

The king has arrived in Topeka

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akuna 3 years, 1 month ago

Republican leadership has no integrity these days.

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prospector 3 years, 1 month ago

Shoulder your pike! On to Topeka!

/rabble rabble rabble

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Crazy_Larry 3 years, 1 month ago

Fiscal Sanity he says! Where were you when O'Neal and his beaches voted to spend 300 million dollars on the Capitol building renovation that's been going on for almost 9 years? 60 million dollars for an underground parking garage for the legislators so they don't have to walk half a block and maybe get rained on or, god forbid, meet a little person on the sidewalk.

Brownback! You and the rest of the scoundrals are about to pay dearly for the mess you helped create and continue to create!

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

"He provided no details of the cuts at his news conference."

It is like having an 8 year old as Governor. This isn't make believe, Mr. Brownback. Grow up.

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WilburM 3 years, 1 month ago

So much for the legislative process. Just let the power flow to the executive.

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